Clematis Blue Bird

Clematis 'Blue Bird'

Clematis hybrid 'Blue Bird'


$24.95
Buy 3+ at $21.95 ea
Buy 6+ at $20.95 ea
A classic that never falls from favor, this Canadian cross of C. macropetala x C. alpina cultivars delights with semi-double "lanterns" of purest blue surrounding a cream-to-green center. The blooms appear most heavily in spring, occasionally repeating in midsummer, on climbing plants that easily tolerate partial shade. Very easy to grow, always dependable, and adaptable to a wide range of climates and garden conditions, 'Blue Bird' deserves a place of honor in your sunny border or best container!

'Blue Bird' offers nodding blooms that open from large, egg-shaped buds that are themselves quite attractive. Two to three inches wide, the flowers seem to float weightlessly, their blue petals spread wide to reveal the central "tongue" of white to key-lime green. Among the first Clematis to flower each spring, 'Blue Bird' follows its blooms with large, wispy seedheads of silver that make attractive and long-lasting additions to dried arrangements in the vase or wreath. And often the show is repeated, on a smaller scale, in summer!

Bred in Canada by F. L. Skinner in 1962, 'Blue Bird' is quite prepared to tackle rough winter weather, and also fares well in the sultry southern and western summers of the U.S. Unlike most ornamental Clematis, it does not mind a bit of shade, making it invaluable in gardens where sunshine is a scarce commodity.

'Blue Bird' is a Group I Clematis for pruning purposes, welcome news indeed to any seasoned Clematis grower! It flowers on old wood, so needs no pruning at all. If, however, you want to contain and shape this climber, cut it back directly after the blooms pass in late spring. This will give the plant time to grow all summer, ensuring you of flowers the following spring. (If something goes amiss and your pruning is delayed, no worries -- 'Blue Bird' will continue to thrive, and the flowers will reappear one season later.) Whether you plan to prune 'Blue Bird' annually, sporadically, or not at all, DO be sure to cut it back the first and second year in late spring. This will create more stems and result in a lifetime of lush, full growth.

Reaching 8 to 10 feet long and about 2 feet wide, 'Blue Bird' is ideal for threading through fences and up among the open, bare branches of shrubs and trees that are late to leaf out in spring. Like all Clematis, it is a good companion to climbing roses, though its earlier bloomtime means that you will get a succession of flowers (first the Clematis, then the Rose) rather than a combination of both at the same time. It does well tumbling down the levels of terrace gardens, and likes to blanket a big boulder or other architectural feature in the garden. Never invasive, it grows easily and well, establishing slowly (the way of all Clematis!) and surely.

Do consider making 'Blue Bird' part of your sunny to lightly shaded border. Its color is hard to find in the garden, its performance always reliable and often exceptional, and its beauty unmatched. Zones 3-9. Group I.

The Ramblers and Early Bloomers

Group 1 are the Clematis that bloom mostly on old wood (meaning the previous season's growth) and begin their flowering season in mid- to late spring.

The key to pruning Group 1 is that they don't require any pruning, but if you're going to do it, do it right after bloom. And, as long as you ruthlessly prune it right after flowering each year, you can cut off as much growth as you like. Whatever grows between the time you prune and the following spring probably won't bloom next year, but all the old wood will, and you can control the growth of ramblers beautifully that way. (In other words, if you want your Clematis to grow only 7 feet tall, for instance, prune it back to 7 feet right after it blooms. It will grow a bit more before winter, but the new growth won't bloom next spring — just the old 7 feet you wanted! Repeat this process every year and your Clematis will give you a perfect 7-foot column of blooms, season after season!)

The only other reason to prune your Group 1 Clematis is to remove any dead or diseased growth. If your Clematis has climbed a tall tree or sprawled over an outbuilding, prune any poor growth you can reach and let the rest fend for itself. If you've performed your first- and second-year pruning faithfully, your Clematis will be lush and many-stemmed, blooming close to the ground as well as farther up along its vigorous stems, and will look great year after year!

Once you know your Clematis's pruning number and get that first-year trim out of the way, keeping this woody climber looking its best and blooming like crazy is simple! A few minutes once a year will yield you armloads of flowers for many seasons, and you will continue to find new uses for Clematis, from hiding an unsightly fence to decorating your most formal garden art!

Shop Clematis Time to Prune? Group 2 Group 3

The Ramblers and Early Bloomers

Group 1 are the Clematis that bloom mostly on old wood (meaning the previous season's growth) and begin their flowering season in mid- to late spring.

The key to pruning Group 1 is that they don't require any pruning, but if you're going to do it, do it right after bloom. And, as long as you ruthlessly prune it right after flowering each year, you can cut off as much growth as you like. Whatever grows between the time you prune and the following spring probably won't bloom next year, but all the old wood will, and you can control the growth of ramblers beautifully that way. (In other words, if you want your Clematis to grow only 7 feet tall, for instance, prune it back to 7 feet right after it blooms. It will grow a bit more before winter, but the new growth won't bloom next spring — just the old 7 feet you wanted! Repeat this process every year and your Clematis will give you a perfect 7-foot column of blooms, season after season!)

The only other reason to prune your Group 1 Clematis is to remove any dead or diseased growth. If your Clematis has climbed a tall tree or sprawled over an outbuilding, prune any poor growth you can reach and let the rest fend for itself. If you've performed your first- and second-year pruning faithfully, your Clematis will be lush and many-stemmed, blooming close to the ground as well as farther up along its vigorous stems, and will look great year after year!

Once you know your Clematis's pruning number and get that first-year trim out of the way, keeping this woody climber looking its best and blooming like crazy is simple! A few minutes once a year will yield you armloads of flowers for many seasons, and you will continue to find new uses for Clematis, from hiding an unsightly fence to decorating your most formal garden art!

Shop Clematis Time to Prune? Group 2 Group 3

The Ramblers and Early Bloomers

Group 1 are the Clematis that bloom mostly on old wood (meaning the previous season's growth) and begin their flowering season in mid- to late spring.

The key to pruning Group 1 is that they don't require any pruning, but if you're going to do it, do it right after bloom. And, as long as you ruthlessly prune it right after flowering each year, you can cut off as much growth as you like. Whatever grows between the time you prune and the following spring probably won't bloom next year, but all the old wood will, and you can control the growth of ramblers beautifully that way. (In other words, if you want your Clematis to grow only 7 feet tall, for instance, prune it back to 7 feet right after it blooms. It will grow a bit more before winter, but the new growth won't bloom next spring — just the old 7 feet you wanted! Repeat this process every year and your Clematis will give you a perfect 7-foot column of blooms, season after season!)

The only other reason to prune your Group 1 Clematis is to remove any dead or diseased growth. If your Clematis has climbed a tall tree or sprawled over an outbuilding, prune any poor growth you can reach and let the rest fend for itself. If you've performed your first- and second-year pruning faithfully, your Clematis will be lush and many-stemmed, blooming close to the ground as well as farther up along its vigorous stems, and will look great year after year!

Once you know your Clematis's pruning number and get that first-year trim out of the way, keeping this woody climber looking its best and blooming like crazy is simple! A few minutes once a year will yield you armloads of flowers for many seasons, and you will continue to find new uses for Clematis, from hiding an unsightly fence to decorating your most formal garden art!

Shop Clematis Time to Prune? Group 2 Group 3

The Ramblers and Early Bloomers

Group 1 are the Clematis that bloom mostly on old wood (meaning the previous season's growth) and begin their flowering season in mid- to late spring.

The key to pruning Group 1 is that they don't require any pruning, but if you're going to do it, do it right after bloom. And, as long as you ruthlessly prune it right after flowering each year, you can cut off as much growth as you like. Whatever grows between the time you prune and the following spring probably won't bloom next year, but all the old wood will, and you can control the growth of ramblers beautifully that way. (In other words, if you want your Clematis to grow only 7 feet tall, for instance, prune it back to 7 feet right after it blooms. It will grow a bit more before winter, but the new growth won't bloom next spring — just the old 7 feet you wanted! Repeat this process every year and your Clematis will give you a perfect 7-foot column of blooms, season after season!)

The only other reason to prune your Group 1 Clematis is to remove any dead or diseased growth. If your Clematis has climbed a tall tree or sprawled over an outbuilding, prune any poor growth you can reach and let the rest fend for itself. If you've performed your first- and second-year pruning faithfully, your Clematis will be lush and many-stemmed, blooming close to the ground as well as farther up along its vigorous stems, and will look great year after year!

Once you know your Clematis's pruning number and get that first-year trim out of the way, keeping this woody climber looking its best and blooming like crazy is simple! A few minutes once a year will yield you armloads of flowers for many seasons, and you will continue to find new uses for Clematis, from hiding an unsightly fence to decorating your most formal garden art!

Shop Clematis Time to Prune? Group 2 Group 3

The Ramblers and Early Bloomers

Group 1 are the Clematis that bloom mostly on old wood (meaning the previous season's growth) and begin their flowering season in mid- to late spring.

The key to pruning Group 1 is that they don't require any pruning, but if you're going to do it, do it right after bloom. And, as long as you ruthlessly prune it right after flowering each year, you can cut off as much growth as you like. Whatever grows between the time you prune and the following spring probably won't bloom next year, but all the old wood will, and you can control the growth of ramblers beautifully that way. (In other words, if you want your Clematis to grow only 7 feet tall, for instance, prune it back to 7 feet right after it blooms. It will grow a bit more before winter, but the new growth won't bloom next spring — just the old 7 feet you wanted! Repeat this process every year and your Clematis will give you a perfect 7-foot column of blooms, season after season!)

The only other reason to prune your Group 1 Clematis is to remove any dead or diseased growth. If your Clematis has climbed a tall tree or sprawled over an outbuilding, prune any poor growth you can reach and let the rest fend for itself. If you've performed your first- and second-year pruning faithfully, your Clematis will be lush and many-stemmed, blooming close to the ground as well as farther up along its vigorous stems, and will look great year after year!

Once you know your Clematis's pruning number and get that first-year trim out of the way, keeping this woody climber looking its best and blooming like crazy is simple! A few minutes once a year will yield you armloads of flowers for many seasons, and you will continue to find new uses for Clematis, from hiding an unsightly fence to decorating your most formal garden art!

Shop Clematis Time to Prune? Group 2 Group 3
  • Butterflies like a lot of sunlight, so locate your garden in a sunny area.
  • If you live in a windy location, plant your butterfly-attracting plants near a building, fence, or hedge to protect them.
  • Plant a variety of nectar-rich plants, as well as shrubs and evergreens for shelter.
  • Since many butterflies and native flowering plants have co-evolved, try to put in some that are native to your area. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center provides lists of plants native to states and regions.
  • Certain colors are particularly attracting to butterflies – red, yellow, pink, purple, or orange blooms that are clustered or flat-topped, with a short flower tubes are especially attractive to adult butterflies.
  • Avoid using pesticides, especially around nectar-producing plants.
  • Provide a shallow source of water – try a birdbath with pebbles lining the bowl.
  • Place a rock in a sunny spot for butterfly basking and resting.
  • Create a "puddling area" by digging a shallow hole filled with compost or manure where rainwater will collect and release essential salts and minerals.
  • If you want butterflies to breed in your garden, put in some caterpillar food plants, such as parsley, milkweeds, asters, thistles, violets, clover, grasses, and Queen Anne’s Lace.
  • Since butterflies need nectar throughout the entire adult phase of their lives, try to create a design that will allow for a continuous bloom – when one stops blooming, another starts.
Get the Best Blooms from your Clematis

You’ll find Clematis pruning groups for your specific variety listed in the descriptions in our catalog and online. Follow the pruning guidelines below to get the best bloom show out of your Clematis.

Clematis Pruning Guide

Don't cripple your Clematis! Make sure that you are pruning your vine properly based on its blooming habit. Clematis can either bloom on old wood (Group I), new wood (Group 3), or both (Group 2), and you must be sure to prune accordingly, because improper pruning can set your bloom show back a year or more!

Note: In the illustration above, the dark stems are what you want to keep, while the light stems are what you want to prune away.

Group I:

(Bloom in early spring from buds set the previous season on old wood; doesn’t die back in winter)

Prune only when needed, after bloom in spring.

Clematis should only be pruned sparingly. They tend to bloom earlier, in the spring. After their bloom show is over you can give them a light pruning. All you want to do is clear out dead wood and keep the stems tidy.

Since this group blooms only on old wood, cutting too low or too early in the season could cost you flowers! Examples of a Group I Clematis are shown here.


Group II:

(Usually includes rebloomers that produce flowers on old wood in late spring/early summer and often bloom again on new wood in late summer or fall)

In March, remove dead wood and cut the remaining stems 6 to 8 inches to a pair of strong buds.

Clematis should be given a moderate trim. Since they bloom on old and new wood alike, you want to trim enough to encourage new growth, but without losing any promising buds. Remove dead wood and cut back the remaininsg tems just 6 to 8 inches.

Do this trim in March, before the blooming has begun. This group tends to bloom in the middle of the season, setting flowers on old wood in late spring/early summer and then reblooming on the new wood through late summer or even early fall. This group is a bit more forgiving—even if you prune a bit too harshly, you will still get to enjoy the late-season rebloom! An example of a Group II Clematis is Vancouver Fragrant Star.


Group III:

(Bloom on new wood in the summer and fall; dies to the ground over winter)


Each year in March, prune all stems back to a strong set of buds 12 inches from the ground.

Clematis are the easiest to prune, since you basically cut the whole thing down! This group goes dormant in the winter, letting the stems die off, and then they grow anew each spring. This means that each year in March you should prune back all the stems to just about 12 inches off the ground to make way for the new growth.

This group will come back strong and will bloom on the new wood each year. Since they have to re-grow their mature size each summer, they tend to be the last to flower, opening in late summer or fall. Examples of a Group I Clematis are shown here.



For more information on Clematis care and pruning, contact us directly by calling our public relations department at 1-864-941-4521.

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Tips for gardening in particularly hot, dry climates:


1. Water with a drip system whenever possible – soak the bed slowly and thoroughly to a depth of 10" to 12".

2. Watering deeply every 3 to 5 days is preferable to a shallow daily watering.

3. Water in the early morning, so foliage has time to dry.

4. Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch or similar material to aid in water retention and help keep the roots cool during hot weather.